Books: Mixed Fiction, Sep. 26, 1955

DON GASTONE AND THE LADIES, by Goffredo Parise (257 pp.; Knopf; $3.50), is less a novel than a wedge of life sliced from the rotting melon of a prewar Italian slum and served up with no prosciutto of plot, pretense or preaching. The heroes are two urchins: nine-year-old Sergio and his friend and idol, wicked, ten-year-old Cena. Together the boys starve and steal, beg and brawl, and observe with bright-eyed interest the passing show of the squalid tenement in which they live.

Star of that show is Don Gastone Caoduro, a vain and shallow...

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